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Trade Union rights are Human rights, say SNP MEPs

In an act of defiance against the UK Government’s proposed Trade Union Bill, SNP MEPs Alyn Smith and Ian Hudghton have added their support to an EU-wide campaign to promote trade union rights as human rights. 

The campaign, organised by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), cites the UK’s Trade Union Bill as one of the many attacks faced by the trade union movement.  

It comes in the wake of Alyn’s discussion with the Independent Labour Office (ILO) regarding a formal investigation on whether the UK’s proposed changes to the right to strike are compatible with ratified ILO conventions. 

Alyn said:

“Brave men and women fought for the right to organise, bargain collectively, and take industrial action where required. 

“We cannot – we will not – spit on their memory by allowing these rights to be eroded by a government that has made no secret of its desire to put workers in their place.  

“As I said before, the Conservatives’ desire to erode the right to strike is not acceptable, and the SNP will continue to challenge it domestically and in Europe.” 

Ian said: 

"The UK Government's Trade Union Bill is absolutely unacceptable, and the SNP stands strong in opposition to the Bill in Westminster, at home in Scotland, and in Strasbourg as Alyn and I have shown today. 

"I hope this sends a clear signal to David Cameron that the very nature of the Bill is an attack on fundamental human rights and civil liberties".

The text of the pledge reads:

"The European Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. Trade union rights are human rights. Trade union rights are described in various ILO Conventions, are recognised in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and are among the fundamental rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights. 

“By signing this pledge, I commit to respect and promote trade union rights in all my work on EU legislation and policy initiatives. 

“I [NAME] pledge to support the respect for trade union rights in Europe."